Today I took part in my first 1 mile run. Before the race I had misgivings about the potential smooth running of the run. They can be seen in the following extract which is followed by my race report. Anyone wishing to see my photos should go to http://ramblingsofamenopausalrunner.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/the-amba-hotels-city-of-london-mile/
This Sunday sees my next run, the inaugural Amba Hotels City of London Mile. The clue here is the word inaugural, this means it has the potential for chaos. I don’t wish to demean all the hard work of the organisers and I hope I’m wrong but past experience (AKA the inaugural Run to the Beat Half Marathon) tells me this is a possibility. Time will tell.
This sense of foreboding is probably exacerbated by the fact that race packs could be collected from the Run Fast store in Leadenhall Street on the Friday before the run (ie, today). All very well if you work in the City and hadn’t taken Friday off to recover from your post England match celebrations/commiserations – delete as appropriate. Yes, I know we now know the score but the options still apply depending on whether you’re a football fan or not!
Anyway, back to the run. The only other option is to collect your race pack on the morning of the run. I have visions of runners (me included) wandering lemming like around the race village trying to attach their numbers and chips and drop off baggage all before collecting in their wave group and heading off to the starting pen.
To be fair, when this run was first announced you had to pay to enter but several months ago it was announced that the run would now be free to make it inclusive for everyone. As a result, keen people like me who had already paid have had their money either refunded or donated to the official charities.
I have donated my fee towards my entrance fee for next year’s BUPA London 10000 – now there’s a run you know will go like clockwork. Apart from the fact that this run is now a firm regular in my running calendar, next year offers the possibility of a different route as the usual route may be disrupted by the Cycle Super highway construction due to take place during 2015.
Because the run starts in the heart of the City, my travel arrangements mean I’m going to have to alight the train at London Bridge and walk to the start. This probably means I’ll be walking further than the run itself! But at least my muscles should be warmed up.
I will report back on whether chaos ensued or whether I was proved wrong, and any other exciting incidents after the weekend.
Well I have to take back all my doubts; for a first attempt, that run was incredibly well organised and great fun to take part in. I shall definitely be back next year (legs permitting).
Saturday found me wondering whether I’d perhaps under estimated the calibre of this run and whether I was going to be running with Sir Roger Bannister wannabe’s. I began to feel seriously under-prepared, I’ve never taken part in a run shorter than 5k and here I was attempting 1.6093k. The distance is not so much the issue, it’s the anticipated speed it’s likely to entail.
After a typical runner’s pre race poor night’s sleep, I got up this morning to find my left foot had decided it didn’t want to take part. For some reason, every step was painful and it was the top of my foot which was causing problems, not my Achilles nor my plantar fascia! It did eventually wear off but I was a bit worried about what would happen when I started to run.
Despite a few travel obstacles (weekend engineering works!), I managed to get to London in plenty of time and enjoyed a leisurely stroll across London Bridge and down towards the start line. I thought it wise to now try out my left foot’s running capabilities (probably a bit late really, I should have done that before I left home) and I did a few casual jogs towards St Paul’s Cathedral in an attempt to warm up. There weren’t too many people around at that time so I didn’t feel too out of place.
Once I got to the race village the number collection point was fairly easy to find and there were no queues! I collected my pack and some kind staff member even offered to hold my pack while I attached my number. I then went and sat in a park by St Paul’s and attacked social media before heading back to the finish area. Announcements were made about the first wave being about to start and I calculated that I should be able to watch the first finishers come home before I headed out for my wave assembly area. The clock by the finish line and the announcer kept us informed of progress and I caught sight of runners in the distance. It was another minute before they came around the corner and headed for home so we all clapped and cheered as they crossed the line in a little over 4 minutes.
My wave, the 7 to 10 minute group, were led from the assembly area to the start line just in front of St Paul’s and we gathered there in the morning sun to wait. We were given regular updates on how long until we would start and then all of a sudden the gun went and we were off. This is probably the closest I’ve ever been to the start line in a run (apart from parkrun). Usually the only sign that the run has started for me is that people start to move forward slowly and then gather pace as the starting gantry approaches. This time it was bang and go!! I put my best foot forward (yes, my right one!), checked my watch had started and went for it. The pain should all be over in 10 minutes time, I thought!
I have a mile marker for when I run from home so I tried to imagine I was following that route so I knew I would soon be at the finish. As a result I promptly missed a sightseeing tour of the Bank of England and the Guildhall amongst other icons.
Although I had thought that this was probably the only time my habit of going off too fast was going to do me a favour, I quickly realised I’d gone off ridiculously fast, so I reined it in a bit. For some reason at no point in that run did I look at my watch to check my pace. So as we turned from King Street on to Cheapside and towards the finish, I caught sight of the finish line clock. S**t, it was saying 07:12. Apart from being amazed and thinking that can’t be right, it also put a bit of pressure on. I can finish this in under 07:30 so head down and go for it – even though there was a slight incline! I’d clocked that while watching the finish of the first wave. As I crossed the line I was fairly sure I’d done it but it wasn’t until later in the day that I discovered I’d done 07:27.
I’m so glad I didn’t look at my watch, I think the pace and distance readings during the run would probably have told me the sensible thing would have been to slow down and I proved I didn’t need to. Before the run I was hoping that I’d be able to complete the mile in just under 9 minutes so that result has left me a very happy bunny!
The run finish was just as well organised as the rest of the event, my chip was removed promptly and my goody bag handed over. It was even possible to leave the race area without having to go miles out of your way. Mind you, I did stop off at the Mizuno stand and buy a new pair of trainers, my third pair of Wave Inspire 9 and yet another colour combination (and 25% off)!
Perhaps one of the reasons for the event’s success was because there were only around 2,000 people taking part and there were 13 different waves – including some mad fools who had just completed the inaugural Hackney Half and had come along to “cool down” by running another mile!
So all in all, I have to say I was very impressed and I felt compelled to pass on my congratulations to the organisers. I shall now be incorporating some sprint work into my training so that this time next year I can beat my new PB.